Conference History

  • 1999 Plymouth State College, New Hampshire – Edward I. Stiefel & Russ Hille
  • 2001 The Queen’s College, Oxford, GB – C. David Garner & Ralf-R. Mendel
  • 2003 Kimball Union Academy, New Hampshire – John H. Enemark & Rolf K. Thauer
  • 2005 The Queen’s College, Oxford, GB – Tracy Palmer & Michael K. Johnson
  • 2007 Colby-Sawyer College, New Hampshire – Caroline F. Kisker & Alastair McEwan
  • 2009 Il Ciocco, Italy – Maria J. Romao & Martin L. Kirk
  • 2011 Edmonton, Canada –  Joel Weiner
  • 2013 Sintra, Portugal – José Moura, Isabel Moura, Luisa Maia & Maria J. Romão
  • 2015 Balatonfüred, Hungary, Günter Schwarz
  • 2017 Santa Fe, New Mexico, Sharon Burgmayer
  • 2019 Potsdam, Germany, Silke Leimkühler
  • 2021 France, Axel Magalon

In the 1970’s and early 1980’s The Climax Molybdenum Company (later AMAX) sponsored several meetings on the chemistry and uses of molybdenum.  The principal focus of these meetings was chemistry and chemical engineering, but they invariably included one or more sessions on enzymes that possessed molybdenum (which at the time was limited to nitrogenase, xanthine oxidase, sulfite oxidase and the assimilatory nitrate reductase from plants). 

The first meeting focusing principally on the biology and biochemistry of molybdenum was organized by Robert C.  Bray and Russ Hille, April 12-14, 1997, at the University of Sussex as a satellite meeting of the annual meeting of Biochemical Society of the United Kingdom that year. 

The Sussex meeting brought together a large and international contingent of biochemists and molecular biologists, and was enthusiastically received by the participants.  It became clear that the community was large enough to sustain a regular meeting of its own, and subsequent discussion among workers in the field led to the suggestion of a Molybdenum and Tungsten Enzymes Gordon Conference, and a successful application for the creation of such a meeting was prepared by Ed Stiefel and Russ Hille. This Gordon Conference, which included a strong contingent of synthetic and physical inorganic chemists (notably absent from the Sussex meeting owing to a scheduling conflict with an annual meeting of the American Chemical Society) was held every other year from 1999 to 2009 with the organizers indicated below, with sites alternating between the US and UK. 

This series was discontinued after 2009, but its place, an independently organized Molybdenum and Tungsten Enzymes Conference was established, the first such meeting being organized by Joel Weiner at the University of Edmonton and August 3-6, 2011, immediately prior to the ICBIC 15 meeting in Vancouver that year. 

Again, it was evident that the community was large and active enough to sustain such a regular meeting.  The second of these independently organized meetings was held July 16-19 2013 in Sintra, Portugal immediately prior to ICBIC 16 in Grenoble, France, and was hosted by José Moura, Isabel Moura, Luisa Maia and Maria Romão. This meeting for the first time included a significant contingent of workers on nitrogenase, which had previously held a separate Gordon Conference focusing exclusively on that enzyme.

The inclusion of the nitrogenase theme was viewed by all as a very positive development, and this has been continued in the following meetings, from then on renamed to “ MoTEC” for Molybdenum and Tungsten enzymes conference, 2015 at Lake Balaton, Hungary, hosted by Günter Schwarz and the 2017 in Santa Fe, New Mexico, hosted by Sharon Burgmayer. In the current meeting, the MoTEC XI, a satellite meeting on “Iron Sulfur Clusters for Life” is joined, since there is a significant overlap of the FeS cluster field with the research fields on molybdoenzymes and nitrogenase.

Russ Hille